"Pam," Stacey said as she rolled from her cubicle and into the aisle separating her from her overweight coworker. Pam looked up from her emails. She had a strong taste for placing kitschy things throughout her cubicle space."Yes?" Pam asked.
Stacey slid further in her rolling chair and asked, "You've heard of lolcats, right?"
"Yeah, lolcats, they're like really popular," Stacey said and stood up peering over the labyrinth of walls and aisles for her manager. Stacey crossed the aisle and pushed the hand of a giant plastic M&M character that held actual Peanut M&M's inside a bowl resting on what would be the M&M's hip. When Stacey pushed the left hand it tumbled out several candies through its mouth, which was odd, because it was as if the giant plastic M&M character was regurgitating its stomach contents like a bird feeing its chick. Like a chick, Stacey took the candies and put a green one in her mouth.
"They're like, really cute kittens and cats who do like really funny things and their owners take pictures of them and write funny captions that potentially the cat or kitten is actually thinking, or could think or not thinking at all and it's just funny to think the cat would think something like that, but also, sometimes disturbing if you think about it too hard, like, there's this one that says the cat wants a cheeseburger, and it's spelled all cutesy and really, does the cat want a cheeseburger, no. And that's sort of weird and sicko to think of a cat sitting there head deep in a cheeseburger, right? Which is actually a cow."
Pam pushed away from her desk and looked around to make sure a manager wasn't within whisper to hear her talking about lolcats. "Sure, I've heard of those, for sure. They're really cute, didn't know what they were called, I guess."
"Right, but they're like, an internet phenomenon. Right? Like, everybody in the world looks at those and laughs and like, ranks them and writes little comments either saying, oh yeah that was super cute and funny or, maybe be cuter next by saying something like yada yada yada, for example."
"Sure," Pam said.
"Yeah, what do you think, like, a billion people look at those? Like, one out of six people in the world? I bet at least one out of six people look at them."
"Maybe, that's a lot of people."
"Well I like, guarantee that everybody in here looks at lolcats, right? And how many people work on computers in cubicles like us and are very bored and sort of hate their jobs and need to like distract themselves?"
"Distractions like lolcats?" Pam said and reached for the yellow plastic M&M character and shook its hand to obtain her own share of Peanut M&M candies.
"Yeah, distractions like lolcats. And they put adds up there and they get, I don't know, if they got a penny for every person that looked at the site, that's what, a billion pennies, divided by like, a hundred is well, it's like, you know."
"Yeah that's a lot of money," Pam said.
"Yeah, exactly. And all you really need is like an idea like that."
"Right, well, guess what? I got one of those ideas."
"A lolcats idea?" Pam asked. But just then her phone rang and she rolled her eyes at Stacey and nodded to the ringing phone and mouthed something about how she didn't want to answer that ringing phone. Stacey put the remaining two candies in her mouth and sat down and pushed her rollie chair backwards as she heard Pam answer, "Horizon BioTherapies, this is Pam how many I assist you today?"
Stacey waited for Trevor to return from his place of employment. As she waited she baked a cake and read magazine about famous people and what they wore to special events and whether this was appropriate or should be ridiculed in clever little captions and cartoon thumbs-down next to their images. The oven timer rang as Stacey viewed an image of a legendary pop musician who had not produced much in the previous five years but still couldn't shop alone in quiet farmers markets in Malibu, the pop singer wore comfy sweats and Uggs boots without makeup and several blotch marks dotted her face. Stacey wondered if the magazine had enhanced the blotch marks, in antithesis to what they normally do in Hollywood when a pretty person has their picture taken.
She opened the oven. She took out the chocolate cake and set it on the stove, then inserted a butter knife. It slid in easily and came out clean. "Perfect," she said and sat down to finish reading about each grave mistake listed by the editor and made by the unfortunate pop star who had so many problems while trying to buy organic apples in Malibu.
Then it was time to frost the cake, a simple chocolate layer at first and Stacey stood back and thought, yes, a good cake. Then, feeling creative, she decided to take the white icing out and write a little saying. She stood for sometime and decided on cakebreak.com, which was their big idea, which she wrote in her nicest cake-writing skills. It looked good, white on chocolate. But there was also red and green icing and why not outline the expression? She did that. And then the cake looked somewhat psychedelic, the words popping out of the cake, which was good. Perhaps that would capture a unique niche in marketing.
Stacey fell asleep and woke when the key wiggled in the door and then creaked open. Trevor was home.
"Hey babe," she rose and skipped to him, "Good day?"
"I suppose," he sighed and slumped his shoulders. Stacey wrapped her arms around him and leaned her head into his chest and his shoulders regained their regal demeanor. She smelled like baked goods. This gesture made Trevor feel better.
"Steve made me stay late and finish the proposal for that downtown renovation project. It was brutal, I had to research all these historic laws and tax codes. Terrible."
"Oh, I'm sorry babe."
"It's ok. How was your day?"
"It's ok. Pam says they're going to let a lot of the clean room workers go."
"The clean room workers?"
"Yes, they're all the like Philipino workers who dress in the white suits and go in and work with the product, the little like device you know that like the diabetics put in their skin so they can monitor their sugar levels."
"Look at you learning all this stuff," Trevor said and gave Stacey a friendly slap on the butt as he walked away from the entry way, undoing his tie and tossing his jacket on the couch. The video camera was out and he flipped on the tv.
"But customer services are ok?" he asked.
"I think so, Pam hasn't said anything about us."
"Well, hopefully less workers making the product doesn't mean less customer service reps answering phone calls from the people who buy that product."
"Anyway," Stacey said. "I got it all set up.
"And you're ready, all set? We can probably launch the site tonight even. Then let the clicks or page views, or whatever they call them start the ca-chinging, you know, all the way to the bank."
"Yes, brilliant, no more answering telephones in a cubicle, we can truly be creative and masters of our life."
"Yes, it'll be good. We can buy a place down by the beach and I won't have to commute to that stupid internship in the valley."
"Here, you want some cheese and crackers? I've been eating these for a few hours."
"Oh, good idea, add a little spice, or something, help out the process, I suppose. Hmm, these are good, what is this Jalapeno?"
"With jack cheese, that's my favorite, this is brie, it's soft. And this is just some nice sharp cheddar from Ireland."
"Ireland, oh nice, I picture them having some really cared-for cows, you know, like up on those really green cliffs by the sea, just, hanging out, having a great cow time."
"As long as they don't get blown of those crazy cliffs by like the crazy winds."
"True, but the wind is usually blowing the other way, you know, as to keep them on the cliff, instead of the vice versa, which you mentioned."
"I guess that's true. Mmn," Stacey said and ate another piece of cheese cupping her other hand under her mouth to catch any crumbs. "Well, let's get the show on the road? You set up the camera and I'll go get ready."
"Sounds good to me, business partner."
"Haw, business partner, that's nice, I like that." Stacey said and kissed Trevor on the forehead and skipped away down the hallway.
Trevor slid his tie over his head and laid it on a chair, he heard the weather for the next day from the tv in the other room and undid the first few buttons on his oxford. He set the tripod up and screwed the camcorder in, then flicked it on and focused on the cake. CakeBreak.com. He liked that, the writing was all trippy; people would appreciate that attention to detail.
Music, he thought, perhaps they needed music. He walked to the tv and hit the menu button and scrolled through the stations and came to smooth jazz, hmm, it sounded like elevator music, or what he thought elevator music was supposed to sound like since, he wasn't sure but he didn't think he'd ever heard music in an elevator before, even when they were in Vegas last year, which was supposed to have everything.
He sat in the tall stool near the camera and waited, the cake looked good. The cheese and crackers only made him hungrier. Where was she? How long did it take? He ate the rest of the plate and then there she was.
"Nice," he said and sat there on the stool looking at her.
"Well, don't just sit there like that ants on a log snack I make, man the video, man."
"Oh yes, of course," Trevor said and swallowed the cheese and crackers. He turned it on and focused on her, then pulled his head away and nodded to her.
"I don't know what to do," she said.
"Oh. Well, let's see. Just, like, I guess, maybe do a little dance and then, swoop," he gestured his hands down his hips, "And then, hop up and get the doing done," he smiled and went back to the video.
She did as he said, she danced a little dance to the subtle elevator music and shimmied her hips and kicked off the black lacey underwear he had bought her on their vacation to the Grand Canyon two Christmases prior.
She was naked below the waist now. A good looking girl, Trevor thought, he was lucky to have her, so many men now, he thought, so many men would love her and envy him, anonymously, of course, at first, at least—ideas for the site were still developing. All that really mattered were the page views and the ad revenue. How much did Google make? Just in advertising? Shoot, it was a lot. And all you had to do was have a great idea. Check.
Stacey reached her right hand up to the opposite side of the counter and hoisted herself up on the white tiled counter, putting her knees down in a crawling position. She winked in the camera and made some sexy kissy faces and slowly began to turn around so that her plump round bottom was facing the camera. She looked behind her and gave another few sexy faces to the camera and Trevor smiled and gave her a thumbs-up and continued filming. Stacey reached behind her and slid her hand along her privates a few times and then bounced her hips up and down like she and Trevor had seen done by the professionals on the internet clips they had watched together.
Stacey made eye contact with Trevor and Trevor again nodded in encouragement and Stacey lowered herself onto the cake, her legs spread on each side, she paused momentarily and Trevor was worried if she'd be able to do it. He looked away from the viewfinder, worried; but, no alarm, she could do it! He heard it and it was a good cheese fart. A cake fart! Hilarious! They were so clever, and what a funny name, cake fart, ha. It was hilarious. Trevor smiled and Stacey went ptthht phhtt pht into the moist chocolate cake.
She kept at it. Trevor was unsure now. They were sort of loud and voluminous. Not just in terms of, well, volume. But it sounded cavernous, like a kick on a bass drum compared the rap of a snare. Stacey rubbed her butt in the cake and leaned over to expose herself to the camera. The frosting left the cake for her butt and some of the moist chocolate was unearthed as well. Hmm. It wasn't quite as hilarious as Trevor once thought. But there were so many weirdos out there in the internet world. People would love this, they would send it in links to their friends in their cubicles and they'd laugh and minimize the browser as their managers walked amongst the cubicles telling people to get back to work.
Stacey farted again, this time as she was leaning over exposing herself. Trevor was filming and centering the frame, watching. And he didn't like what he saw. Instead of it just being the unique lady parts like before she started with the farting and the cake rubbing, now it was mostly a big giant wrinkly asshole that looked to actually be coughing, like moving out and in, with each passage of. . . air? It was air? That was escaping from inside of her and out, onto the cake, which for some reason he thought would be pretty funny only fifteen minutes ago but now seemed pretty strange for a professional couple like he and Stacey to be doing on a Tuesday evening around 7:15. They should be out at Thank Goodness It's Friday with another young professional couple. Not this. Not this gross naked farting and anus convulsing into a fresh cake that they should have actually eaten, not farted into, onto, 'cause it smelled quite delicious when he returned from a hard day at the office.
Oh boy. Stacey farted and it squeaked and, did she moan with the fart? Oh boy. The fart continued, high pitched and the anus was like, alive and shit. It kept moving and she kept farting, rubbing her bottom in the cake and showing him her talking anus. He never wanted to see that thing. And why did he listen to Jim, his fellow intern at the Johnson, Brousch, and Ellsworth. Why why why had he listened to Jim and asked Stacey and then gotten her drunk in Vegas last year and inserted his nice clean penis into that cavernous cake stained talking stink hole. Oh boy. What had he done? What had they done? Oh boy oh boy.
"Honey? Stacey darling?" Trevor said. "Maybe that's enough," he said and she farted, "Maybe, well, maybe that's quite enough for now."
Joel Van Noord writes from California.
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